The trials and tribulations of being a kid “back in the day” (before cell phones and computers) is the premise of Crabgrass: Comic Adventures (Volume 1). Sometimes things are over-the-top, but through it all, there are a few messages about just being yourself, being loyal to friends, realizing that things are going to be okay, things are better than you think, and embarrassment comes with the job. And all the while the two main characters must watch out for crazy siblings and crazier parents.
Tauhid Bondia knows kids (after all they were one once too, and I am assuming with an equally crazy best friend as Kevin and Miles have with each other) and knows their one-liners (“I think complicated is just a word adults use when they don’t get it either.” and “Squirrels are like little super heroes, huh?”) that have equally amusing illustrations with minimalistic details, but bold colors and a good old fashioned punchline. There are a few stories which are linked together, but are also separate as well.
The overall tone and even the look of things are reminiscent of Calvin and Hobbes (my first thought when I saw Kevin, long time resident of the neighborhood) and publisher descriptions also liken it to Peanuts (siblings and friendship ups and downs). New best-friend Miles (who is black and an only child) has both fantastic naiveness and evil genius sides, and is the perfect partner for Kevin (a white, basically middle child of four siblings, who has some great street smarts, but lacks in common sense). I was surprised that I enjoyed this graphic novel as much as I did. I expected something really dumb and over the top, but there is a sweet message as well. In fact, since Volume two, Unsupervised: A Crabgrass Comics Adventure is also available, I might go on and read that as well.